Monday, October 15, 2018

Short Film: Daywalker: Blade Origins

This is a 33-minute-long fan film directed by Markiss McFadden and released in 2017. It really is one of those fan films that begs the question, why are they often superior to a lot of the cheap-end straight to stream/dvd/video films that haunt the horror genre in particular. I mean, it isn’t perfect, and whilst you’d expect a fan film to display a lot of love for the subject it also displays a lot more technical competence than many a film I look at on TMtV.

It starts with a trumpet and a kid, young Eric Brooks (Kal-El Smith), watches the musician, Jamal (Michael Monteiro) through the window of the bar. At the end of the night Jamal leaves by the rear door but is approached by a group of ne’er-do-wells who are, as you might guess, vampires. They have been searching for Jamal, a retired vampire hunter, and as a fight ensues Eric runs out of the shadows and tears the throat out of one of the vampires.

Eric blooded
Jamal takes the young lad under his wing and trains him. Through the film we cut back often to the training, the words of wisdom and (in a more contemporary scene) Jamal’s eventual fate. We see him find Eric feeding on an animal (perhaps a goat) and bringing him a serum to take away the thirst the child feels. Whilst brief through the film the scenes help build the character, juxtapose nicely with the modern scenes and help build an emotional resonance with Blade (Byron Smith).

Byron Smith as Blade
Of course, Blade hasn't earned the moniker as of yet, this being an origin story, and at the beginning it might seem that perhaps he has gone rogue somewhat as he is with a vampire gang, the Blood Shadows (remembering that there was a legacy of being on the wrong side of the tracks explored in Blade the Series). On the other hand we see that whilst he has a connection to a vampire named Glory (Lamorae Siggal), who trains him in sparring matches that are as much flirt as combat, there is a mutual tension with Blood Shadow leader Cyrus (Markiss McFadden). The vampires are also unaware that he is a daywalker.

Blade and Wolverine
The photography works really well and Blade fans will enjoy the brief appearance of Deacon Frost (Michael Tushaus), whilst Marvel fans generally will like the cameo by Wolverine (James Lee Hawkins). Byron Smith is perhaps less stoic than Blade appears in other, official, vehicles but we have to remember that this is young Blade and there is at least some level of stoicism. The fighting seemed a tad on the choreographed side but not distractingly so and the entire thing was clearly a labour of love as I mentioned.

The imdb page is here.

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